Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason delivers Henry Grattan Lecture

Posted on: 03 May 2023

Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, Geraldine Byrne Nason, delivered the Henry Grattan Lecture in Washington DC last week in the Ambassador’s Residence.

An initiative of the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, the Henry Grattan lecture series has been running since 2013, featuring speakers including former Taoiseach Mr John Bruton, EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, former President of Ireland Mary McAleese and Mario Draghi, former President of the European Central Bank.

This was the second lecture hosted in Washington; the inaugural lecture was held in 2019 with keynote speaker Congressman Richard Neal, Chair of the Ways & Means Committee. 

Professor Gail McElroy, Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason & Professor Cóilín Parsons

In the wide-ranging discussion with Professor Cóilín Parsons, Director of Global Irish Studies at Georgetown University, the Ambassador reflected on Ireland-US Relations from a political, economic and cultural perspective. Professor Gail McElroy, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Trinity, chaired the event, which took place on Wednesday, 26 April 2023.

Ambassador Byrne Nason talked about the recent visit to Ireland by President Joe Biden, particularly focusing on his remarks around the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and the role of the US in maintaining peace.

She noted that while in Belfast President Biden concentrated on the next generation, the “generation of young people who don’t know what the Troubles felt like and who have the most to gain from the institutions and from the economy”.

When President Biden came to Dublin he talked about a relationship “that has evolved hugely” with Ireland “emerging as a nation on the global stage”, she added.  

Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason in conversation with Professor Cóilín Parsons

Speaking about the economic connections between Ireland and the US she said the two countries have never had such a strong economic relationship and noted that the value of the combined economic relationship, trade and investment was a trillion dollars.

“It’s a two-way street. We have 650 companies here in the US that have created over 100,000 jobs across every state in the United States… we know the US is the biggest FDI investor in Ireland, a couple hundred thousand jobs, and probably multiples of that when it comes to indirect job creation.”

Other topics explored included Ireland’s place in the cultural imagination of Irish Americans and on the global stage and Ireland-US partnership on the UN Security Council, where she said the two countries share so many values, and also approaches to issues.

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